Tag Archives: copyright

ABC blames readers

The terrible thing about A&R’s bankruptcy is that it’s a direct result of a foolish government policy (and maybe other things, too; see the update below). “Former NSW premier Bob Carr, a director at rival bookstore chain Dymocks, said the government was driving retailers to the wall by failing to open the wholesale book market […]

ACTA is an attack on the WTO

India has complained in the recent TRIPS council that the ACTA provisions modify the balance of rights and obligations established by a multilateral agreement (TRIPS) covering the same domain. The secret negotiation of this plurilateral agreement by a cabal that included Australia is an attack on that balance and hence on one of the pillars […]

Remove the buy-local tax on books

Yes! The right recommendation for a more competitive and better-informed (or, at least, better-read) Australia.

“The Government should repeal Australia’s Parallel Import Restrictions (PIRs) for books. The repeal should take effect three years after the date that it is announced.” Extract from Research report – Productivity Commission

This discretionary quota on books maintains local margins for the global book publishers and printers at the cost of readers and competitive Australian publishing. Now maybe—at last—we will see a more aggressive release of electronic titles (‘Kindle books’) in Australia. Welcome to the 21st century.

Manufacturing copyright ‘consensus’

The path to copyright consensus in Canada

A fascinating analysis of a ‘coalition of interest’ at work—strategies often alleged but rarely detailed with such clarity.

Geist shows how three Canadian entertainment industry organizations have manufactured the appearance of widening concern over copyright piracy and growing evidence of its impact.

“It is not just that these reports all receive financial support from the same organizations and say largely the same thing.  It is also that the reports each build on one another, creating the false impression of growing momentum and consensus on the state of Canadian law and the need for specific reforms” Extract from Michael Geist

Geist notes that experienced politicians seem to understand what’s going on here. That’s to be expected: this is nothing more than an elaborate, effective and, in the scheme of things, acceptable lobbying strategy.

But that knowledge doesn’t shield polticians—or the public debate—from the misrepresentation of either the data or the ‘consensus’ unless the insight is widely shared. Few make the effort that Geist has made to evaluate either.

Readers pay for publishers’ protection

Joshua Gans seems to agree with me that access to low-cost Kindle e-books is one reason to get rid of the ban on competitive (‘parallel’) import of books.

“So why is it possible for hard copies of books to move across international borders but not electronic copies? The answer is that publishers, who have intellectual monopolies over these works, for their own reasons have not done the deals to make it possible. ” Extract from The Age

He suggests that publishers could try a ‘fair trade’ pricing scheme for local publishing. But they do that already.

Was the Pirate Bay judgement biassed?

A Swedish Court’s conviction of the principals in Pirate Bay, a bit-torrent site that facilitated sharing of copyright material may be only the first step in a significant case on digital copyright abuse.

The decision will likely have no impact on the sharing of copyright material. There are hundreds of torrent aggregators and probably thousands of different ways to disguise the sharing of digital files. The Pirate Bay case is interesting mainly for its legal findings that broaden the responsibility of what are, in effect, search engines for the illegal actions of their users.

But the decision could be seriously tainted by what looks like bias on the part of the Judge and the investigating police.

French internet law blocked, for now

In a coup de théâtre, the opponents of the internet surveillance bill managed to block it in the Senate on 9 April. But not for long, it seems:

“L’UMP semble vouloir effacer cet affront en faisant revoter au plus vite le projet de loi. ‘Le vote négatif de l’Assemblée nationale retarde l’adoption du texte, ça ne le bloque pas. On va repasser le texte avec une lecture à l’Assemblée et une lecture au Sénat avec un vote conforme’ dans les deux Chambres, a déclaré Roger Karoutchi, le secrétaire d’Etat aux relations avec le Parlement. ‘Ce texte sera de toute manière bien sûr voté. On le fera à la rentrée des vacances parlementaires’ de Pâques.” Extract from Le Monde

"The UMP [President Sarkozy's center-right majority party] appears to want to erase this setback by sending the bill back to a vote as soon as possible. 'The negative vote in the Assembly slows the adoption of the text, but doesn't stop it. We will resubmit the text with a (full) reading of the bill in both the Assembly and the Senate and a line vote in both chambers' declared Roger Karoutchi, the Secretary of State for Parliamentary Relations. 'This text will absolutely be voted on. We'll do it as soon as Parliament returns from its Easter break'."